X-Men #18 (Marvel)

CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 3.5/5 – A New Creative Team Sends the X-Men Back Into Space.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

There’s quite a bit of history to the X-Men. With literally over one hundred characters, their stories, deaths, resurrections and complex continuity, it can be tough to follow and remember each character’s previous story lines. X-Men number eighteen adds to that feeling of being just a bit lost with an all-new storyline that brings in even more female X-characters and plot points from the intricate past of the X-Men. New writer Mark Guggenheim, who also happens to be writer and executive producer of the TV show Arrow, brings back the Shi’ar character Deathbird, as well as focusing on some key moments from Rachel Grey’s past.

The story opens with a flashback scene of Rachel being attacked by the Shi’ar empire, then moves quickly back to the present with the current X-Men team doing battle with some type of organic virus. This allows Guggenheim to set up what looks to be a story involving Rachel Grey who hasn’t really been used as much as the other characters on this X-team like Monet and Storm, and also provide a new reader some insight into the makeup of this all female cast. It seems like the characters and settings are a bit random from where this series has been the prior seventeen issues, but it still works as Guggenheim’s writing puts characters first with both realistic and funny dialogue in a heavily sci-fi influenced story.

Adding to my enjoyment of the issue is some outstanding art by Harvey Tolibao. Tolibao has worked on numerous titles in the past from a wide range of publishers, but this may be my favorite of all his work. He’s got a great line that’s heavy on the details which is perfect for a story like this with amount of technology and different characters within. There’s an absolutely beautiful splash page that shows Deathbird’s history, as well as some great actions scenes with the overwhelming amount of Sidri aliens. At times his character faces can look a bit ugly which doesn’t work as well for the female cast, but the overall package felt exceptionally strong and it was exciting to see Tolibao’s work shine here.

Guggenheim and Tolibao are only on this title for four issues which is a shame since it looks as though they have a great feel for the material. This series can be tough for a new reader to get into, but Guggenheim is putting character exploration first and all the action and science fiction second. If you’ve been avoiding this series in the past, this may be a great time to jump on board as Guggenheim has proven to be one of the stronger writers in the business, and his characterization will help new readers gain a new appreciation for this all female team.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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